UCL Grand Challenges


Syrian Refugees as Leaders: An Innovative Model for Cross-Cultural Exchange and Education

This collaboration between UCL and the University of Lincoln will pilot an innovative cross-cultural exchange educational model

A group of people still around a table.

1 September 2021


Grant: Grand Challenges Doctoral Students' Small Grants
Year awarded: 2021-22
Amount awarded: £2,500

Project Team

  • ​​​​​Natalie Garland, Institute for Global Prosperity
  • Charlotte Cartledge, Psychology (University of Lincoln)

This project will train Syrian refugee youth enrolled in Multi-Aid Program's (MAPs) Higher Education Platform to design and lead seminar workshops for UK secondary school students. MAPs, a refugee-led community-based humanitarian organization in Lebanon, is a partner in this participatory project that takes a co-design approach. The key action-oriented objectives that relate to community engagement beyond the academy include:

  • changing attitudes on global challenges and harmful stereotypes around refugee capabilities through cross cultural communication and dialogue
  • strengthening refugee leadership and critical thinking capacity
  • enhancing engagement on global challenges and collective solutions for all students

The activities are designed to contribute new knowledge around innovative forms of connected learning practices and the influence this can have on both students and the leaders from marginalized backgrounds. 

The project is designed to impact the lives of students in both Lebanon and the UK. The expected outcomes include: 

  1. Introducing students at schools in Lincolnshire to global challenges and perspectives, new ideas, concepts and cultures 
  2. Enhancing leadership and critical thinking skills for refugee leaders 
  3. An innovative cross-cultural exchange educational curriculum is piloted to inform future scaleable models for Connected and Social-Networking Based Learning

Outputs and Impact

  • Awaiting outputs and impacts